13 Twitter Tweaks We'd Like to See in 2013
CNBC Social Media Producer
In December 2011, we put together a list of 12 tweaks that we wanted to see Twitter implement in 2012.
Well, we batted .250 (or did Twitter?), as the service will have added three of our suggestions by the end of 2012 including a weekly activity email, hiding replies when viewing a profile (currently only active for verified users) and access to a user's past tweets in an archive (which Twitter CEO Dick Costolo promises will come before January 1, 2013).
In an effort to continue to enhance the platform, Twitter could implement these 13 tweaks in 2013.
1. Ability To Upload Video
Currently, if a Twitter user wants to post a personal video to the site, he or she would need to upload it to YouTube or Vimeo and then share the link in a tweet. While photo-sharing is the latest craze, let's not forget about video. Giving users the ability to upload a video also means additional advertising opportunities.
2. Muting Features
Not interested in seeing a tweet whenever your friend checks in at the bakery on foursquare? Muting is a feature many users already enjoy on their third-party app of choice; let's see Twitter follow suit. The ability to mute hashtags, keywords and specific clients (i.e.foursquare, Klout) makes for a more peaceful Twitter experience.
3. Earmark Tweet
Most third-party apps do a good job of saving your spot in your timeline, but trying to keep up with tweets over the course of a day via Twitter web is difficult. Twitter is best viewed when scrolling up through your timeline rather than down, so giving users the ability to earmark a tweet and return to that exact spot later on would work nicely.
4. Eliminate The Need To Begin a Tweet With a Period
In order to begin a tweet with a username and have it seen publicly, users must add a random character (many choose the period symbol) to the front-end of their tweets.
Without this character, Twitter will think you are attempting to reply to this user.
For example, tweeting "@CNBC, I agree!" will cause your tweet to be displayed to those following both you and @CNBC; if you'd like it broadcasted to everyone following you, your tweet would need to look like this:".@CNBC, I agree!" This is a messy workaround. Twitter could add an option near the "Compose Tweet" box that would force the tweet to display to all of your followers. Goodbye, period.
5. Drafts Folder
While a tweet can only have 140 characters and be constructed in mere seconds, knowing you can save a tweet or link for later in a draft folder makes the platform more useful. Copying and pasting a soon-to-be-tweet into a draft email sounds silly, but we all know people who have done it.
6. More Than 140 Characters For Direct Messages:
When sending a direct message to another Twitter user, the site restricts this private message to be up to 140 characters, like a tweet. Why?
If it's not for the public eye, let's go easy on the character count. Trying to crunch a private message into 140 characters or spreading it out into three different messages is unpleasant. (Bonus: Sending a picture via direct message and being able to respond once to a user's direct message even if he or she is not following you.)
7. Address The Option To Edit A Tweet
Should Twitter implement the option to edit a tweet after it's been published?
While there are many positives and negatives to both ways of thinking (see here , here and here),Twitter should, at least, address the issue. "Once a Tweet has been posted, it can't be changed," Twitter's FAQ section reads. Tell us the reasoning behind this.
8. Image Link Placement
If a user uploads a graphic to a tweet,Twitter will automatically place a link to the picture at the end of the tweet.Users should have the freedom to choose where within the body of the tweet the link should go. This is the one plus third-party application TwitPic has over Twitter's native photo-upload feature.
9. Trending Topics Explanations
A word, phrase or topic that is used at a greater rate than other topics is said to be a trending topic.
The site displays 10 trending topics on the left side of its homepage. Deciphering what most topics mean at any given time is a real head-scratcher.
Twitter ought to hire a full-time Trending Topics Editor to help give meaning to each topic. Sites like WhatTheTrend.com, which attempt to explain any given trending topic, are not reliable and often produce outdated information. Give us clarity behind each trending topic and this section immediately becomes more useful for many users.
10. Better Image Viewing Experience
With the increased frequency of images being shared on Twitter, it would be beneficial to quickly review images recently posted by any user. Currently, you can only review past images one-by-one, which is a slow and inefficient process; a 'Gallery View' would make profiles inherently more social.
Also, Twitter's new header image on a user's profile is sloppily placed under white text. Let's change that.
11. [Comment] RT:
Twitter encourages you to share others' content, but isn't interested in your comments. Having the one-click ability to RT with a comment only enhances the sharing experience.
12. Better Notifications
When users receive a direct message, favorite or @reply, they should be notified of this no matter what page they'reviewing while browsing Twitter. Using a Facebook-esque notification system would improve the user experience and ensure that all interaction is known.
13. Free Bird
New users may find it frustrating when they realize someone already registered a Twitter handle with their name. Even more frustrating, accounts made up of precious handles may be going unused and collecting dust.
When asked if users will have access to these inactive names, Costolo told CNBC.com in May that it will soon be possible to acquire them in an "automated fashion."
The company needs to set a date when all accounts that have not been logged into in the last 12 months are made available to the general public.
A handle that fits set criteria can be claimed by visiting the profile and clicking "claim username," which will kick an email to the current owner to give them 72 hours to login and verify that the user still exists. If they fail to respond within 72 hours, the person that claimed the user name is awarded it.
Much thanks to my good friends who helped me put together this list. @Bairet, @burnSTYLEr @emandelkern, @MerKenyon, and @NickBegley. Follow them all.